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H. Gilbert Welch, MD, MPH

Professor of Medicine
Professor of The Dartmouth Institute
Professor of Economics

The Dartmouth Institute

Harvard University, BA 1976
University of Cincinnati, MD 1982
University of Washington, MPH 1990

The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice

Contact Information:

35 Centerra Parkway
Lebanon NH 03766

Phone: 603 653-0836
Email: H.Gilbert.Welch@dartmouth.edu

Asst. Phone: 603 653-0836

Professional Interests:

Dr. Welch is a general internist at the White River Junction VA and a professor of Medicine at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Research.

For the past two decades, Dr. Welch’s research has focused on the problems created by medicine's efforts to detect disease early: physicians test too often, treat too aggressively and tell too many people that they are sick. Much of his work has focused on overdiagnosis in cancer screening: in particular, screening for melanoma, thyroid, lung, breast and prostate cancer. His first book, SHOULD I BE TESTED FOR CANCER? Maybe not and here's why (UC Press 2004) was written while he was a Visiting Scientist at the International Agency for Research on Cancer and was one of the six "best books" listed by Malcolm Gladwell in The Week. He has recently published his second book, OVERDIAGNOSED: Making people sick in the pursuit of health (Beacon Press 2011).

Courses Taught:

@ TDI: Epidemiology and Biostatistics
@ Dartmouth College: Health Policy and Clinical Practice
@ Tuck: Science of Inference – Basic Skills & Disturbing Truths

Selected Publications:


  • Black WC, Welch HG. Advances in diagnostic imaging and overestimations of disease prevalence and the benefits of therapy. N Engl J Med 1993;328:1237-1243.

  • Welch HG, Schwartz LM, Woloshin S. Are increasing 5-year survival rates evidence of success against cancer? JAMA 2000,283:2975-78.

  • Welch HG, Schwartz LM, Woloshin S. Prostate-specific antigen levels in the United States: implications of various definitions for abnormal. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2005;97:1132-7.

  • Welch HG, Woloshin S, Schwartz LM. Skin biopsy rates and incidence of melanoma: population based ecological study. BMJ 2005;331:481-4.

  • Davies L, Welch HG. The increasing incidence of thyroid cancer in the United States, 1973-2002. JAMA 2006;295;2164-7.